Surface Chemistry

Students: Lily Mao

Graphene Sheets and Nanocomposites

Graphene sheets, the basic structural units of graphite and carbon nanotubes, are predicted to posess outstanding mechanical, electrical and thermal properties. It is for this reason that they have been targeted for many potential applications. While individual single-walled carbon nanotubes represent a source of graphene sheets, they are still comparatively expensive for large scale applications. On the other hand, the inexpensive and abundant material graphite can serve as a starting material for large scale production of graphene sheets, provided it can be completely exfoliated.

In our approach, graphite oxide, an oxidation product of graphite, is used as a source of graphene sheets. Current research focuses on the synthesis of graphene sheets by solution-phase exfoliation of graphite oxide, and their chemical derivatization to both achieve their comatibilization with various organic and inorganic matrices, and to fine-tune their properties, for preparation of novel composite materials.

surface_sch3Scheme 3: Graphene/Polymer Nanocomposites